CCPS BOE approves WPD therapy dog partnership

Published 12:30 pm Friday, September 29, 2023

A new four-legged staff member will join Clark County Public Schools (CCPS) ranks.

The CCPS Board of Education approved purchasing a therapy dog to be used in collaboration with the Winchester Police Department during Tuesday’s monthly meeting.

Captain Steve Charles of the Winchester Police Department (WPD) briefed the board on the proposal.

Email newsletter signup

“A lot of dispatchers have asked for a therapy animal because when they get a bad call, they cannot leave and take a walk,” Charles said.

He then took the idea to WPD Chief James Hall, who supported and approved the idea.

After researching the requirements for and the process of procuring a therapy dog, Justice contacted Ashely Paige, who runs AussGard Kennels in Fleming County.

Paige has trained several therapy dogs and produced a four-year-old canine named Abe for the police department and school district.

“He is certified in all things therapy,” Charles said. “He has been in over 50 schools and specializes in kids with special needs.”

An average therapy dog costs between $10-15,000, Charles said, but Paige is willing to provide Abe to the WPD and CCPS for a cost of $3,000.

Once Charles is trained on handling Abe, he will take the dog to meet and greets at all district schools.

Board members were universal in their praise for the proposal.

“I think it is a great opportunity to partner with the police department,” said board chair Bill Taulbee.

Board member Dora Hall said Abe will be an excellent resource in addition to Sookie, Conkwright Elementary School’s therapy dog.

“It will be good for the other schools to see him,” she said. “He is so soft-natured and precious.”

Smoke Signals staffers honored

Two George Rogers Clark High School maestros were recognized by at the meeting.

Seniors Emmie Rose and Ava Woolums are staff members of Smoke Signals, the school’s award-winning student media publication, and recently received a mission from district officials.

“Mr. [Brandon] Watkins and I had them in my office months ago and told them that we had a task for them,” said pupil personnel director Christy Bush.

That task was to create promotional videos for the school district.

And the end result was better than anyone could have hoped for.

“If you have seen the video at the movie theater before every single movie or you happened to see Channel 18 where our commercial was shown; you will have seen the work of these two ladies,” Bush said. “They brought together something that was perfect, and I would put them up against any professional business in Fayette County.”

The girl’s teacher, Shanda Crosby, was also recognized for her work in preparing them and other GRC journalism students for success.

Other business

• The GRC bass fishing team was recognized for qualifying for the Bassmaster National High School Championship held at Lake Hartwell in South Carolina.

• Alison Campbell, Troy Hatfield and Kelley Harlow were honored for their efforts in establishing the Cardinal Virtual Academy.

“They were instrumental in the success and implementation of our new and improved virtual learning program this year,” Bush said. “They have navigated the growth of our program with determination and patience while helping maintain a tailored learning environment for each of our students.”

• The board approved the purchase of six new school buses that will each have air conditioning and tinted windows.